Thursday, June 2, 2011

Phenology for 6/2/11

Even the Cat Sanctuary had 92-degree heat yesterday. (But we were back down to a pleasant 60 degrees this morning.)

People were complaining about the heat and worrying about my walking home in it yesterday. Country people. They should only feel what it's like in an urban environment where smog and pavement trap 90-degree heat, 90-percent humidity for several days in a row...that's when people who don't run air conditioners actually die from a heat wave. The dangers heat waves present to humans are greatly reduced in places where sparse population protects us from those local greenhouse effects.

Smaller creatures may have a worse time. Once during a picnic beside a lake I saw a sweat bee die in the tiny pocket of concentrated heat created where I'd propped a sand shoe (black canvas, with a rubber sole) against a stick to dry. I'm assuming that all readers are aware that pets and babies can die in the concentrated heat inside a car parked in the sun...or in a small doghouse where the water in the dish has dried out.

Birds: the usual native sparrows, wrens, cardinals, and the robins, warning each other from the tree canopy as I walked out this morning.

Flowers: a lovely new clump of butterfly bush, beside a paved road where it had apparently escaped from cultivation. The bright orange flowers clash a bit with the pink vetch, but no doubt some butterflies will be delighted.

Scott County Collects Donations for Glade Spring

Some people in the Glade Spring community, which was hardest hit by the 4/28/11 tornado, are still living in shelters or in friends' houses. Shelters are asking for help to restock supplies like canned food and toiletries.

I'm not sure how many people in Gate City agree with me that the collections that always follow any large-scale burden on emergency shelters are sort of fun...if you have an extra $20 or $50. All you have to do is go to the store thinking "What would I buy if my house had been affected?"

Clorox. Tilex. Tilex is basically a pre-mixed bleach solution that comes in a nifty little spray bottle, so after using up the contents of the bottle people can mix their own bleach solution for refills.

What are the essentials in your bathroom? We're demographically similar to Glade Spring, so our lists of essentials will probably work for their emergency shelter. Toilet paper. Paper towels. Soap. Diapers (or Depends). Shaving kits. Kotex. Rubbing alcohol. Baby oil.

Add your favorite (or least un-favorite) canned fruit, vegetables, cereals and so on, and the next question is where to unload your contribution. For Scott County, Virginia, donations to Glade Spring shelters have been collected by the Weber City police department. Phone questions/messages can be left for Chief Lane at 276-386-1369.

Religious Freedom Defended

Juniper Russo evaluates a group of which I hadn't heard before (using principles discussed in my Waco article) and finds the group not to be a cult:

The price of freedom from persecution of religious and other communities is eternal vigilance...

Religious Freedom Under Attack

Christian-phobia alert:

(For the record, the writer known as Sheryl Young is Jewish...but understands that attacking some of our freedom of expression can easily lead to attacking all of our freedom. By clicking on her byline, you can read an impressive list of religious/civil liberties reports.)

I remember having mixed feelings about this when Gate City High School students were chanting "We want prayer" on the courthouse steps, back in the 1990s, though. Teenagers' right to pray deserves to be defended...but Gate City, Virginia, happens also to be the home of a Christian school that's a landmark in the history of the school choice movement. I had to wonder why the students hadn't gone there.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Outstanding Bureaucratic Idiocy

Incredible but true:

Readers, please help promote sanity in your neighborhood by sharing this thought: Really nice neighborhoods NEED trailer houses. (Even old, ugly trailer houses.) Why? So that this kind of craziness can't happen.

Phenology for 6/1/11

Sunday was expected to be the first 90-degree day. At the Cat Sanctuary it didn't quite make it, but yesterday (Tuesday) did.

I don't remember all the wildlife information for the week. The robins seem to have settled into the woods along the road; they no longer lead me away from the nest but I still see and hear them in the trees. Robins usually like grassy spots. Their territory includes a grassy area about the size of a large parking space. Apparently that's enough for them.

Yesterday afternoon, in the orchard, I saw a newly hatched luna moth, still clinging to a weed stalk, drying its wings. According to this site, it was male--the antennae looked like horns. The fluffy white body and thin bare legs reminded me of a cicada.

Butterflies in general: What seem to be the next generation of Tiger Swallowtails have hatched, and a few more Spring Azures. A Red Admiral has been attracted to the flowering privet hedge. (According to this site, it must have been hungry...I don't see this species often.)

Beside a busy highway, I also noticed one of the Anglewings (no, not "angel wings"). These are attractive mid-sized butterflies with jagged-edged (angled), spotted orange wings. A quick web search found several images of butterflies in the genus Polygonia but the large, clear pictures I found all seemed to be different species than mine; there probably are web sites that show good clear pictures of Comma and Question Mark butterflies, for free--I just didn't find one. Anyway, they're another group of butterflies that function as scavengers, show more interest in nasty rotten stuff than in flowers, and are often noticed as pretty "flying flowers."

Flowers: More vetch and clover, lots of celandine, honeysuckle. Wild red roses are starting to bloom. Between the privet and the honeysuckle, the air in the front yard is too sweet.